Reflection on the Writing Theory of Zola and Balzac through the Question of Women and Creation

Project Details


After having completed our last MOST project (From Artist to Genius, the writing style differences and similarities between Balzac and Zola), we want to prolong this comparative research by focusing on the relationship between women and creation in order to examine the correlations between these two writers and their writing theory. We hope to establish new bridges between Balzac and Zola. We will be studying Zola’s “L’Œuvre”, written in 1886, to understand his definition of the extremely complex role of Christine, Woman’s incarnation, through her behavior with the two heroes of the story, Sandoz and Claude. Then, we will compare it with a very similar novel by Balzac, “Le chef-d’œuvre inconnu”, written in 1831, to observe the possible differences with Zola and see if he manages to remain faithful to his objective of creation and his writing leitmotiv: to distinguish himself from romanticism and from one of its most eminent champion - Balzac. Finally, we also want to see how Zola, while respecting the principle of "Science", "the law of nature" and "inheritance", somehow manages to extend Balzac's work and therefore romanticism. How does he succeed to distinguish himself and show the depth of his works and the interest of naturalism?
Effective start/end date1/08/2031/07/22

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities


  • Balzac
  • Zola
  • La Comédie humaine
  • Les Rougon-Macquart
  • Le chef-d’œuvre inconnu
  • L’Œuvre
  • woman
  • creation
  • aesthetics
  • writing theory
  • naturalism
  • romanticism


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